October Gateway to 21st Century Skills Update

New Gateway site launch complete!

The Gateway has introduced a brand new look and feel, new technologies to keep you up to date and new features based on the things our members have told us are important to them.

We have focused on the things educators want and what we do best: providing quick and easy choices of “just the right” learning resources for your particular needs. We have made it easier than ever to share what you have found and to add value to the information by making your own thoughts or suggested ways of using a resource known to others. You can see, at a glance, what others have said about a resource. Add your own comments. If you are logged in, just click on the “add comment” button. Other educators will appreciate your insights and inspiration and can easily add their own contribution. Try it! It is so easy!

New technology has provided a convenient way to choose from any of 65 different ways to share without leaving the Gateway. You may send or share information you have found useful to someone else or to the social networking sites of your choice with a single click.

Change is difficult and learning to use new tools is always a challenge. At the Gateway, we understand and are preparing to help you in your use of the Gateway. Over the coming months look for new feature articles on how to use the Gateway tools. Each month we will highlight one of the new Gateway tools or technologies and provide you with a brief tutorial about how to make the most of it. We will break them down into simple steps and use real Gateway resources to illustrate just how easy it is to use these tools, make your job easier, more productive and fun for you and your students.

We will also be reaching out to our Gateway members for ideas and suggestions on how the Gateway can best serve you. We will be meeting with our premier sponsor, the National Education Association, at their Washington, DC headquarters to develop ways to include selected members of the teaching profession in guiding the future development of the Gateway.

With the overarching goal of expanding the depth and breadth of the Gateway collection, we will be engaging educators to learn what they want, where we can find the things they feel are important and what we can do to add even more value to the Gateway. Who knows better than the people that use the Gateway collection every day?

Besides providing guidance and direction, we will be looking for opportunities to include the selected member representatives in important local events where they can show their fellow professionals the products of their involvement in Gateway. We will have more information about the advisory process and how to get involved. Look for that in upcoming Gateway updates.

Are statistics important to you? Do you want to know what other members use the most in the Gateway’s digital library? With the new site we are experimenting with many more ways to capture meaningful statistics about the Gateway and how it is being utilized. We will be capturing and sharing those statistics with you in the coming months.

How do you like the new Gateway? We want to hear from… you! Send your suggestions, thoughts and observations on how we can make the Gateway to 21st Century Skills a more valuable tool for you, your students and your fellow educators. Contact Bruce Walker at [email protected].

What’s New?
We keep fresh lesson ideas and timely topics coming to you so you don’t have to search all over the Internet. The Gateway provides unique lessons that incorporate technology while addressing timely topics, unique perspectives and great diversity.

A 21st century education requires not only historical context but a reflection of the rapidly changing world around us. That’s why the Gateway to 21st century skills is such a valuable asset for educators. Engage your students like never before with free lessons like this sample from recently cataloged items.

Defining Literacy in a Digital World
The texts that students interact with have rapidly expanded from the days when the only definition of a text was a print-based book or magazine. While students interact with a range of print, visual, and sound texts, they do not always recognize that these many documents are texts. By creating an inventory of personal texts, students begin to consciously recognize the many literacy demands in contemporary society. With this start, they create a working definition of literacy that they refine and explore as they continue their investigation of the texts that they interact with at home, at school, and in other settings.

In this lesson, students will simulate the stock market as a class in order to learn more about how different events, including regulation from the Federal Reserve, can impact the stock market.

Building Classroom Community through the Exploration of Acrostic Poetry
This lesson explores the genre of acrostic poetry and reinforces positive community practices in the classroom. After looking at various acrostic poetry websites, students participate in a shared writing experience. Students then write an acrostic poem about one of their peers using online resources such as thesauri and an interactive writing tool.

Bridging Literature and Mathematics by Visualizing Mathematical Concepts
By bridging children’s literature and mathematics, this lesson builds students’ reading, writing, mathematical and scientific proficiency. During interactive read-aloud sessions, students identify and analyze elements of author’s craft in conveying mathematical information about the size and abilities of a wide range of animals. Then, by studying and following the examples in the books, students conduct a research project of their own, focusing on the same mathematical concepts.

Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music
Students discuss their own experiences and conduct further research on the controversial topic of sharing music and other audio content on the Internet. Based on their research, students take a stand on the controversy and develop persuasive arguments on their position that they present in a class debate on the subject of downloading.

Cosmic Oranges: Observation and Inquiry through Descriptive Writing and Art
This lesson employs scientific observation, descriptive writing, sketching, reading, investigation, and poetry writing to train students to use their senses and focus their attention. The lesson is designed to enhance cognitive skills used in nearly every discipline and can serve as a prelude to an inquiry project, scientific investigation, art project, or descriptive writing assignment. When students truly learn to see, they are on the path to becoming more engaged, curious, reflective thinkers.

Developing Searching, Skimming, and Scanning Skills with Internet Bingo
Students gain the media literacy skills of skimming and scanning text and selecting key terms for Internet searches. The teacher introduces these strategies using a think-aloud approach, and students practice them by searching a website to fill in a Bingo board.

Draw a Math Story: From the Concrete to the Symbolic
This activity begins with the reading aloud of several math-oriented stories, identifies key mathematical vocabulary terms, models math story writing, and then gives students an opportunity to write addition and subtraction stories. Students first draw a series of pictures which depict adding more or taking away objects; they then write a correlating story to go with the pictures they’ve drawn. Finally, students share their stories aloud, and equations are written which symbolize the adding and subtracting written into the stories.

Comparing Electronic and Print Texts about the Civil War Soldier
What is the best way for students to find the information they need when completing research? Is there a difference between looking for information in print and online texts? This lesson has students explore the answers to these questions by responding to statements about the Civil War soldier’s daily life, searching a website to confirm or refute these statements, and comparing the site’s organization to that of a print text. Students then read a print article and compare the information it contains to that found on the website. Finally, they develop a chart of content and text structure similarities and differences between electronic and print texts. Although this lesson uses the Civil War solider as an example, it can be adapted for use with any research or content area topic.

Decoding The Matrix: Exploring Dystopian Characteristics through Film
This lesson uses film clips from The Matrix and other dystopian movies to introduce students to the characteristics found in dystopian works, such as Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984.

NEA has partnered with the GEM Exchange, Gateway to Educational Materials, and JES & Co to support Gateway to 21st Century Skills, a website that combines state-of the art search technologies and a complete database of state academic standards for core subjects.

Did You Know?
Tuesday and Wednesday were the busiest days for the Gateway in the month of September and 80.8 % added the Gateway to their browser Favorites or Bookmarks! Over 42% of visits came from people who have already bookmarked the Gateway to 21st Century Skills.
Meet your fellow educators. Here are some recent additions to our roster of Gateway members. Anyone you know?

A.C. – NC
I am a literacy specialist working with struggling readers. I am looking for interesting ways to bring hard to reach kids into the exciting world of reading.

L.S. – OH
I am a graduate student in Ohio State’s Master of Education in Middle Childhood Education program. I am currently student teaching in an urban fourth grade classroom.

S.J. – MS
I am an instructor of computer applications & theory at Meridian Community College. I have a B.S. AND M.S. and have been teaching here for 7 years; before that I was a technology trainer for EMCED – MSU, Meridian, MS.

P.T. – FL
I am getting back into teaching after leaving to work in my industry (environmental sciences) 15 years ago. My desire is to teach high school biology online. I recently had my Florida teaching certificate re-instated and am ready to explore teaching and learning with the exciting technological advances since I left! My background is BS Biology and MEd science education. I have been adults teaching in my industry (stormwater pollution prevention and erosion and sediment control concepts and best management practices) but long for the fun and creativity of discovery and critical thinking with younger students.

K.G. – Ohio
I received my doctorate in genetics from Ohio State University in 1980. After 20 years in private sector research and development I returned to teaching in 2000. I get great enjoyment in stimulating interest and excitement about science among adolescents and teenagers. I currently teach middle school science at St. Matthew Parish School in Akron, Ohio. I hold a current teaching license from the Ohio Department of Education with certification in biology. I also have a special interest in technology integration into curriculum objectives and am a founding partner of AALM Instructional Technology Associates, Inc., an Akron, Ohio based curriculum technology consulting firm.

J.M. – Texas
I teach International students at the college level. I currently am teaching reading, writing, and speech (communications).

D.H. – Maine
I am grad student at the U. Maine for Technology. My goal is to be able to teach middle and high schools students’ math and technology.

M.L. – VA
I started teaching middle school math on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. After four years I moved to Worcester County, Maryland and taught middle school math and Algebra I for another five years before finally moving back to my hometown to take a state job in correctional education. I now teach a variety of subjects to a variety of age groups and ability levels. My current position has been the most rewarding for me personally but also the most stressful.

R.K. – WA
20+ years as teacher and drama specialist. Teach elementary school (have taught all grade levels) and University (Theatre, Education, and Humanities). Drum Major award from the Martin Luther King Commission for service to the community. Outstanding Teacher award from community. Teacher Feature award from KSL and community. Presenter locally and nationally; Drama in the classroom and Drama as a teaching tool.

T.H. – NH
I am a veteran teacher of over thirty years. I am currently the Program Director and teacher at Bryant Academy, a middle school for LD and OHI students. We also accept students who have no disability but wish to have an alternative approach to education. Students are encouraged to work independently receiving guidance and 1:1 instruction when needed. Independent, self-thinkers, creative workers are what we work at developing. We have been fortunate to be successful.

A.W. – KY
I am a second year EBD teacher in Shelby County, Kentucky. I work with middle school aged students in a 6-8 setting. I have my bachelors degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky and was alternatively certified in special education P-12 at Georgetown College earning my masters degree. I am recently married to the man of my dreams after dating for five years. God has blessed me with an intelligent, talented, creative and caring son who turns 15 in January. We live in Paris, KY.

B.C. -MD
I am the Interim Director of the Faculty Development Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

S.O. – IN
I am an eighth grade science teacher at Marshall Intermediate Center. I just finished my first year of teaching. Surprisingly, I enjoyed teaching middle school. I am licensed to teach Biology at the high school level, which was my initial goal. However, I came to enjoy middle school science.

T. – NY
A native of Rochester, NY, I am a recent graduate in Biomedical Engineering (’09) at the University of Rochester. I specialized in Signals and Imaging. Currently I am working for the David T. Kearns Center’s Upward Bound Program at the University of Rochester. I am teaching electrical circuits and MATLAB to high school students this summer in my “Intro to Engineering Course”. I am planning to go to graduate school to attain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

M.S. – TN
I graduated from Cumberland College with an Associate of Arts, Carson-Newman-College with a Bachelor of Arts, and the University of Tennessee with a Master of Arts in English. I currently teach English I and English III at Oliver Springs High School in Oliver Springs Tennessee. I am always looking for new ideas to use in my classroom.

We want to hear from you! What would you like to see added to the Gateway? What improvements would you like to see? Send your suggestions, thoughts and observations on how we can make the Gateway to 21st Century Skills a more valuable tool for you, your students and your fellow teachers. Contact Bruce Walker at [email protected]

You can share those observations with your peers or make comments that are only for your use. It’s like your own personal Gateway to over 50,000 quality learning resources.

Are Your Members Using the Gateway?
The Gateway to 21st Century Skills receives thousands of visits a month from dedicated educators all over the world. The community is developing into a diverse and interesting group with tremendous talent to share! Come and join us as we pioneer the way to the vision of a 21st century education. Become a member and network with other educators. Use the information from the Gateway learning resources in other Web 2.0 friendly applications, your portfolio, store it on your calendar for easy planning or share it with your student, parents and administrator. The Gateway is here to help you easily meet your needs and make your teaching day easier!

If your NEA state affiliate website doesn’t link to the Gateway to 21st Century Skills as a resource on your state website, they are surely missing the 21st Century. Tell them you need resources and a link to the Gateway! In terms of a teaching tool, it is one of the greatest benefits that NEA has ever made available to its members.

Iowa and Georgia are the newest additions to our growing list of states and organizations that display their logos on customized versions of the Gateway! Both of these new states and Connecticut Retired Education Association, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Wyoming, Wyoming Student Education Association, Hawaii, Maryland, Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, South Dakota and Tennessee and have all created versions of the Gateway that displays the state affiliate logos.

And now, not only will your affiliate members be greeted with a view of your logo but anyone who declares that they hail from your branded state will also see that affiliate’s logo. This will underscore your local commitment to provide the members of the profession with the tools and resources they need to succeed in driving improvements to student achievement.

Next month…
Did you know that in addition to the website called The Gateway to 21st Century Skills, which is kindly sponsored by the National Education Association, the JES & Co. technical team includes scientists that keep the underlying and very important technologies forward thinking? Next month we will begin to discuss what this means to the Gateway library records and it’s users.

Link to original post

Leave a Reply